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By Tim Hunt

Drought demands reductions

Uploaded: May 20, 2014

You know the drought is serious when the Dublin San Ramon Services District, which treats sewage from Pleasanton, Dublin and portions of San Ramon, makes the evening news recently with its virtually free recycled water.
The district is charging just $10 per tanker truck load for the recycled water and will provide it for free to residential customers with a water barrel to take it home who promise only to use it for irrigation. The recycled water already is used to irrigate parks in Dublin and the Dougherty Valley portion of San Ramon. It is utilized on the Dublin Ranch and the Bridges golf courses so conditions there will be excellent this summer regardless of the heat. Livermore has used recycled water for years on its Las Positas courses.
For other golf courses, it will be a balancing act.
Pleasanton will be taking full advantage of the DSRSD recycled water, according to Daniel Smith, the city's operations director. Smith indicated that two tanker trucks will be making eight round trips each per day to move the DSRSD water to the city's Callippe Preserve course that is located southeast of the city well out of easy reach of a recycled water line. When the course was built, it was designed so it can use recycled water.
The Castlewood Country Club, which uses well water supplied through a long-standing contract with the city and county of San Francisco, is planning to convert fairways on its Valley course to Bermuda, a hardy grass that requires less water than other varieties.
For residents, particularly those with big landscaped yards with lots of grass, it will not be fun. Unlike other agencies that established tiered rates, Pleasanton is requiring a 25 percent cut for everyone, regardless of how careful prior practices had been when using water. The financial hit can be steep if residents do not meet the 25 percent reduction.
The city is leading with action—finally removing the grass surrounding the city offices on Main Street and replacing it with native landscaping. Both DSRSD and the Zone 7 water agency have had demonstration drought landscaping surrounding their buildings.